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Culture and Perception. Dr. K. A. Korb University of Jos 27 May 2009. Sensory Memory. Cross-cultural differences in sensory functions can be the result of: Direct physical environmental conditions Kalahari Bushmen report less hearing loss in older individuals than in the US

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Culture and perception

Culture and Perception

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos

27 May 2009


Sensory memory
Sensory Memory

  • Cross-cultural differences in sensory functions can be the result of:

    • Direct physical environmental conditions

      • Kalahari Bushmen report less hearing loss in older individuals than in the US

        • The desert has considerably less ambient noise than the US

    • Indirect physical environmental conditions

      • Poor nutrition and diseases in South African mine-workers are likely causes of difficulty seeing in poorly lit conditions

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Sensory memory1
Sensory Memory

  • Cross-cultural differences in sensory functions can be the result of:

    • Genetic factors

      • Europeans have a greater incidence of red-green color blindness than non-Europeans

    • Cultural differences in interaction with the environment

      • Cultures differ in judgments of loudness

  • However, cross-cultural differences in sensory functioning are rare

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perception of pictures
Perception of Pictures

  • Ethiopians with little experience with pictorial representations were shown various pictures (Deregowski, Muldrow, & Muldrow, 1972)

    • Most people identified the leopard, but only after time and effort

    • Some would touch or smell the picture

  • Experience with pictures is necessary for accurate perception of clear pictures and photographs

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perceptions of patterns
Perceptions of Patterns

A

B

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perception of patterns
Perception of Patterns

  • Repeated experience with perceptual cues affects how stimuli are perceived

    • Perception of stimuli is learned based on a person’s experience with the environment and pictures

  • Hypothesis 1: Carpentered World Hypothesis

    • An environment with many carpenters tends to be rectangular – furniture, houses, street patterns

    • People raised in a carpentered world interpret non-rectangular figures as rectangular figures in perspective

    • Evidence: People raised in industrial urban environments are more susceptible to Müller-Lyer visual illusion

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perception of patterns1
Perception of Patterns

  • Hypothesis 2: Foreshortening Hypothesis

    • Lines extending into space appear as vertical lines in pictures

    • People living in environments with wide vistas perceive vertical lines as long distances

    • Evidence: Non-western people are more prone to the horizontal-vertical illusion

    • Evidence: People living in areas with wide spaces are more prone than people living in the rain forest

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perception of depth in pictures
Perception of Depth in Pictures

  • South Africans were asked whether the elephant or the antelope was closer to the man (Hudson, 1967)

    • Schooled participants gave 3D answers

    • Unschooled participants almost always gave 2D answers

    • Ability to interpret western-style materials increases as people are acculturated to the west and schooled in western education

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perception of orientation
Perception of Orientation

  • Ghanaian and Scottish children were asked whether patterns that differed in orientation were the same (Jahoda, 1978)

    • Ghanaian children made more incorrect responses

    • Even after training to distinguish differing orientation, Ghanaian children still made many mistakes

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perception of patterns2
Perception of Patterns

  • Children had to state the number of dots when quickly presented (Cole, Gay, & Glick, 1968)

    • American children performed significantly better with the organized array than the random array

    • Liberian children had no differences in performance between the organized and random arrays

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perception of symmetry
Perception of Symmetry

  • Participants have to place the fourth shape to make a symmetrical object (Reuning & Wortley, 1973)

    • Despite having no formal experience with symmetrical patterns, the Kalahari Bushmen performed very well on the task

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perception of simple patterns
Perception of Simple Patterns

  • Currently, cross-cultural research only describes similarities and differences between cultures in perception of simple patterns

    • No theory has been developed that can explain cultural or environmental factors that influence perception of patterns

    • One major problem is that conventions of representing a 3D world in two dimensions are arbitrary

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Perception of pictures1
Perception of Pictures

  • Picture perception is a set of learned skills.

    • Culture-specific conditions determines how picture perceptual skills develop

    • School children easily recognize photographs and clear drawings

      • Simple visual aids are effective in education in virtually all cultures

    • Perception of pictures becomes difficult when:

      • People have little experience with pictures

      • The patterns become more complex

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


Revision
Revision

  • What cross-cultural similarities have been found in perception?

  • What cross-cultural differences have been found in perception?

  • What are some factors that are thought to influence these cross-cultural differences?

Dr. K. A. Korb

University of Jos


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